Perception- Don’t let your customers assume you are ordinary

Customer’s perception of value, based on their perception of benefits vs. cost, is influenced by factors such as:

  1. How we package, position and explain what we do
  2. The track record of our brand
  3. The compellingness of our marketing message
  4. The effectiveness of our marketing material
  5. The persuasiveness of our sales pitch, and
  6. How believable and easy to understand all these things are.

In other words, it’s all about how well we communicate the value of what we do.

Customers will only buy from us if they understand that our value is higher than the competition.  It’s not enough to provide more benefits by having better products and/or giving better service.  You’ve got to communicate the value too- the perceived superior benefits.  If the customer doesn’t understand why you are special, they will assume you are ordinary- and that way you’ll only get ordinary rather than extraordinary results.

How you manage customers’ perceptions

There are many ways in which you can improve the way you communicate value.  3 key methods are:

  1. Distilling your value into a succinct USP (Unique Selling Proposition) statement that you use everywhere
  2. Distilling your value even more succinctly into brand names that make you instantly recognisable.
  3. And then adding layer upon layer of detail to flesh out your brand names and USP statements into entire customer education campaigns that build on the interest captured and generated by those brand names and USP’s.

Your USP statement

Your USP is the thing that causes customers to buy from you instead of your competitors.  And your USP statement takes those USPs and turns them into a sentence or two of crystal- clear explanation that customers can understand quickly and easily.

Here’s a simple process for creating your USP statement:

Step 1- List out what you believe are your USP’s

Step 2- Take your list of USP’s, and for every item on it ask the question “Could, or do, more than a quarter of our competitors say this too?” if the answer is “yes” then it can’t be a USP.

Step 3- List exactly how, where and when you convey your USP’s to your customers.

Step 4- Decide which USPs will be most effective in increasing sales to your ideal customers.

Step 5- Distil your best ideas down into a shorter more “catchy” USP statement e.g. Dyson’s “The only vacuum cleaner in the world to maintain suction, 100% of the time”.

Step 6- Test your new USP statements to make sure that they do indeed get more people to buy from you.

Step 7- Make sure that your USP statements are put in front of customers at every possible opportunity e.g. in brochures, adverts, press releases, direct mail letters, letter heads etc.

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